Fun In the Sun – The Finale


12.31.03 - Miami (Unknown

New Years’ Eve – one of the most circled days of the Phish calendar. Throughout their career, the band has played several defining shows while sitting on the brink of January 1. New Year’s 1993, 1995, and 1998 jump right out as high points of the band’s year-end parties, leaving Big Cypress in a league of its own. Upping the stakes with three sets, a tradition started back in day, New Year’s Eve is the proverbial cherry on top; the icing of the four-night cake. While the first three nights usually provide the dark meat of the run, New Year’s Eve generally carries a more festive vibe. In Miami ’03, the excitement bubbled on December 31 just a bit more vigorously than usual, because other than 2002’s mediocre MSG comeback, the band prepared for their first full-scale New Year’s Eve since Big Cypress.

12.31.03 (Max Z.)

Phish responded right off the bat, starting off the last night of 2003 with the final minute of “Wilson” that they sidestepped with their opening transition into “Sand” the night before. Beginning the show with “Blap! Boom!…,” Phish tore into the final peak of “the song,” blending directly into the opening lick of “Mike’s.” Another bombastic opener, the band had now ignited the Miami shows with “Bowie,” “Piper,” “Wilson > Sand,” and “Wilson > Mike’s.” With a relatively standard run through the darkness, Phish got bodies moving immediately. Trey led with sustained melodies, warming up with a serious solo that drove this version. Struggling through several parts of “Hydrogen,” the band rejoined the same musical page as they dipped into a “Weekapaug,” fully loaded with traditional “Auld Lang Syne” teases that further amped the crowd for the midnight entrance into 2004. Though this “Weekapuag” went all over the place without any coherent structure, Trey provided a barely-audible vocal tease of “Jungle Boogie,” hinting at the cover that would open the third set.

12.31.03 (Ben)

"Jungle Boogie" - 12.31.03 (B.Linus)

With a whole lot of energy, but not much on-point improv, New Years’ Eve was underway. Stepping into a more simplistic piece, Phish followed up the opening suite with a safe journey through “The Moma Dance.” The momentum built over the first couple of nights had steadily worn off, as the band’s playing through the opening frame left something to be desired. Inexplicably, they selected one of their toughest compositions, “Guyute” to continue the set. As ESPN’s Chris Berman would say, they “Rumbled, bumbled, and stumbled” all the way through the piece, continuing the bumpy ride before completing the stanza with sub-standard fare in “YEM” and “First Tube.” Sprinkling in another dash of setlist creativity, the band moved from the peak of “First Tube” into the conclusion of the unfinished “Tube” from the night before. Stepping off stage after a lackluster set, Phish seemed to be losing the harness they had on their music for the first couple shows. But when they came back on for set two, the most awe-inspiring piece of the entire run would unfold.

12.31.03 (Unknown

The Miami “Stash.” If one was around in these days, the version needs no introduction. Retaking their firm hold over their improvisational chops, the band unleashed one of the defining jams of the post-hiatus era. Melting into the song’s canvas, the band settled into a near-silence to get started. The entire band illustrated a greater cohesiveness in the first few minutes of this piece than they did through the entire first set. Responding to each others’ subtleties, Phish invoked a precise musical interaction. Lifting off into an abstract excursion, the unique quality of this jam can not be overstated, and words would simply get in the way. Moving through darkness into sublime harmonies, Phish tapped into something greater on this occasion; one of those special times they channeled the outer universe. Getting into stunning ambient planes, Phish crafted a jam that will always bring chills with its memory. Language fails in instances of trying to convey the inexpressible, and this “Stash” was one of these deeply spiritual quests that people drive from sea to shining sea chasing down. Building out of heavenly textures, Trey brought the band back towards “Stash” with a prominent “Mind Left Body” tease that the band briefly latched onto before rejoining their original course, soaring into final peak to the actual “Stash” jam. Following this near-half-hour of soulful psychedelia, many looked up, aghast at the depths just reached. After a sloppy opening set, Phish came out and unveiled an other-worldly adventure that left people talking far after the show ended. Another example of the massive musical risks that defined this era, this “Stash” proved a spiritual cleansing that underlined the religious nature of the band’s most profound adventures.

Set III Theatrics - 12.31.03 (Unknown

This “Stash” brought the band’s crowning Miami moment, and though “Seven Below” continued with a strong follow-up jam, the show would musically fade from there. The set’s closing “Chalkdust > Slave > Chalkdust” felt completely forced for setlist entertainment, with two abrupt changes. And the third’s set marching band theatrics to ring in the New Year didn’t do much to salvage the music that came after. Though exploratory and moving through some unique segments, “Runaway Jim” meandered for a large part of the post-midnight jam. And to be honest, I don’t remember the “Reba” or the “Antelope” that came later in the set; and to me, that speaks volumes.

Page and The Bunnies (J.Pinsky)

New Year’s third sets are rarely musically astounding. Representing the down-swing for the band, these final frames always seem like party time more than any earnest endeavor. By the time their ninth set in four days has come, more often than not the band’s focus has checked out. Though often filled with feel-good Phish, not since 1995 has Phish done something both creative and astounding in a New Year’s set; not that there’s anything wrong with that. The entire New Year’s show is generally an anti-climax, with the best music of the run almost exclusively coming over the previous nights. But who can beat a three set Phish party for New Year’s Eve? There’s no place I’d rather be.

Nobody knew it, but Phish would be gone only two seasons after Miami, disappearing into the mid-summer night. What seemed to be the re-ignition of a hallowed tradition became a one-and-done affair. But what a difference six years makes. Now, one day from our return to American Airlines Arena, the community is laced with a sense of joy and confidence in the future. With a vastly brighter landscape, Miami circa 2009 seems to be something that 2003 turned out not to be – a bold step into a limitless future. Gather your personal belongings, the ride is about to begin.


Jams of the Day:

Stash” 12.31.03 II



Tweezer > Cities ” 12.31.98 II




12.31.96 Fleet Center, Boston, MA SBD < Torrent

12.31.96 Fleet Center, Boston, Ma SBD < Megaupload

12.31.96 - Boston (Doug)

I: Axilla, Peaches en Regalia, Punch You In the Eye, Cars Trucks Buses, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, The Divided Sky, Sample in a Jar, Tweezer Reprise

II: Chalk Dust Torture, Wilson, Sparkle, Simple > Swept Away > Steep > Harry Hood > Prince Caspian, Character Zero

III: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Auld Lang Syne > Down with Disease, Suzy Greenberg, Run Like an Antelope, Bohemian Rhapsody*, Julius**

E: Amazing Grace**

*Phish debut; w/ Boston Community Choir
**w/ Boston Community Choir

Source : FM SBD

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870 Responses to “Fun In the Sun – The Finale”

  1. albert walker Says:

    i hear ya C

    haights as we used to call them haights (named after the OG place that sold 1.75 grammers, the Haight)

    I’m surprised the union wooks did not try to bust my skill for being a scab and violating all worker agreements

    could have been a dangerous scene

  2. albert walker Says:

    I hear ya Cow

    this year I’ve been to RR, New York, Indio, Miami

    there is def a plan to my madness
    we actually tried to make a rule that the city and venue should also play into what shows we want to go to

    I mean we are going to be eating lunch in style every day down in Miami

    not quite the same effect of Portland, Me or Detoilet, MI

  3. Robear Says:

    Say nice things about Detroit.
    Like, cheap houses, under $1000 some of them.
    Saw a bunch of great shows and had real success with the Waterwheel.
    Stung like hell missing the Gorge after seeing RR>Shoreline
    Like seeing an amazing fireworks display, but missing the grand finale.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    i find it real interesting that causality runs both ways, from the micro to the macro and back again

    small things add up and create emergent macro effects which govern the whole system, creating downward influence on the smaller components

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    it’s too bad phish doesn’t do more touring around the west and the four corners regions .. that was a big appeal of SCI – getting to dance on the side of a mountain in steamboat, or on a volcano in maui, or in a forest in oregon.

  6. albert walker Says:

    you know me Robear

    I rock the Indian head sweater

    always looking for a chance to bust on Detroit

    even kicking them when they are down
    it is just in my blood

    it is getting so bad over there, I kind of even feel bad though

    there is not even a bookstore, grocery chain, or starbucks within the Detroit city limits, pretty sad

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    unfortunately phish doesn’t fit in most of the cool venues that define local regions…maybe if tickets continue to ease off…nah no way it gets that small, too bad

    ok back to parenting, see y’allz later

  8. albert walker Says:

    laterz C
    have a good one

    next time you hear from this kid will be from the beach

  9. Robear Says:

    first, Cow brings up SCI. next, he’ll start plugging DMB and saying how the ‘Dickie and Bruno’ jams were the highlight of Coventry šŸ˜‰

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Have fun in Miami AW!

  11. albert walker Says:

    I’m beginning to think Cow is actually Kang or at least a Kang plant whose job was to infiltrate phishthoughts and try to control all the negative backlash directed at SCI

  12. Robear Says:

    A dub, watch for kids in Phishtoughts t’s scaling the side of the arena toward the luxury boxes..

  13. albert walker Says:

    Page side
    first box in front of stage

    come on up as long as you got some headz to puff
    always welcomed

  14. albert walker Says:

    sky box does not get patted down
    rich people get all the perks
    we will have a tube in there

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    leaving in 20 mins…see you folks down south!

    PS- No Spoilers is on!

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    that was a big appeal of SCI ā€“ getting to dance on the side of a mountain in steamboat, or on a volcano in maui, or in a forest in oregon.

    ^ well, that and the hula hoops šŸ˜‰

  17. albert walker Says:

    safe travels man

    see ya soon

  18. Robear Says:

    dang, we’re giving cow the business this morning! Can’t wait to meet you man. Southern run, next summer! šŸ™‚

  19. llamalee Says:

    getting ready to leave, so meet up still at hard rock cafe 4:00 on 30th?

  20. llamalee Says:

    also, put on record a peaches > my friend, my friend opener. thought that one up in the shower so it has to be good

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    “Iā€™m beginning to think Cow is actually Kang or at least a Kang plant whose job was to infiltrate phishthoughts and try to control all the negative backlash directed at SCI”

    lol — sorry my phishthoughts tend to dovetail w/ sci, as they were such a tandem for me circa 2000 – as the phish scene got heavy the sci scene came along with it all light and bubbly and full of hula hoops (incidentally if you haven’t hooped as an adult you’re seriously missing out) and the fall of phish for me was intertwined with a rise of sci.

    but you won’t seem me pimpin dmb any time soon!

    and the highlight of coventry was the so&m blowing off steam jam and the drowned – though the bruno/dickie jams were up there šŸ˜‰

    not sweatin “gettin the business” round here, I give plenty out so I can take it..

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    ‘you won’t see me……’

  23. jay Says:

    I miss being on tour as well. I miss the totality of it. The total immersion into the tour. The road trip, the venues, shakedown, the show, the high. How it all ties together. The synchronicity that happens with you and your connections to everything and everybody. The totality. The life. Nothing else matters feeling. The feeling that you and everyone else on tour are the only ones living. Everyone else is missing it. The feeling that you have connected deeply with something special.

    I really, really miss it. I had a touch of it this year with 16 shows under my belt. It will not happen again for me for a long time I am afraid. Makes me sad. Also makes me very happy beacuse I was there! I was a witness. A special thing.

  24. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ wow. Re hula hoops. That was a joke. Sci, ummm well- somethings are better left unsaid. I’ll leave it at that…Safe travels to all!

  25. c0wfunk Says:

    I know it was a joke šŸ™‚

    but I”m not joking! Don’t knock it ’til you try it!

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